A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that there is very little economic mobility in the United States. The study shows that 43 percent of all Americans who grew up in the bottom quintile of family income groups remained there as adults and 70 percent of this group remained in the bottom half of income earners as adults. Only 4 percent of those raised in the bottom quintile rise to the top quintile as adults. Thus, the rags to riches story in America is indeed very rare.
In terms of family wealth, rather than income, two thirds of all Americans who were raised in families that were in the bottom fifth in terms of family wealth remained in the bottom two quintiles as adults.
For Blacks, 53 percent of those raised in the bottom quintile in terms of family income, remained in the bottom quintile as adults. For Whites raised in the bottom quintile, only 33 percent remained there as adults. Half of all Blacks raised in the bottom quintile of wealth remained there as adults compared to only 33 percent of Whites.